Why do most ignore this important investment?
Why do so many of us not use our vacation days?
Salespeople talk about “leaving money on the table.” Well, employees leave vacation on the table. And the cost to us is significant.
In fact, Americans leave 429 million vacation hours on this proverbial table, according to a report from Forbes. And USA Today reports that, according to their study, over 30% of employees do not use all of their vacation days.
When we discuss investing, we talk about putting money aside in order to make a profit. We discuss putting money into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and so forth.
People also discuss investing in your career, like investing in an education or in a certification. Maybe we should talk about another investment that could pay dividends in your career, which is, of course, the place where you make your money.
Reasons why people skip vacations:
Why do employees avoid vacation? There are several reasons people give for missing out on vacation days:
▪ “I’m afraid that I’ll be fired.”
This is the idea that your boss expects constant work and looks down on those “snivelers” who dare to take a break.
▪ “A hard worker should keep his nose to the grindstone and perform.”
This is related to the other reasons, and it also involves some allegiance to the idea that hard work is the key, over-arching purpose of life.
▪ “I don’t want my colleague to impress the boss more while I’m away.”
People worry about not getting that promotion if they take time away from the office. These reasons are largely self-imposed.
As one executive put it, according to Forbes, “We seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the breaks.” Using your vacation time, and using it wisely, helps you to become a better employee, which can only help your company.
Is investing in vacation a good idea, or just hokey, happy talk?
Research studies support the idea of taking your vacations. A University of Pittsburgh study found that leisure activities, including vacations, contributed to less depression and more positive emotions, along with lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines.
These results are not surprising since vacation reduces stress. As reported elsewhere, 80% of workers feel stressed on the job, and 70% of doctor visits are due to stress-related conditions. According to Forbes, not using vacation time is bad for business. Most managers recognize the benefits of taking time off from work because their employees will be more productive, have better workplace morale, and are more likely to stay.
Importantly, the health benefits of vacation result in employees missing fewer days for illness and less time for medical appointments. There are, of course, personal benefits to going on vacation or taking a “staycation,” where you stay at home during your time off.
You can enjoy your life more and become closer to your partner, your kids, and your friends. You become physically healthier, too. However, taking time off can provide substantial benefits for you in your job or career.
As one executive put it, according to Forbes, “We seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the breaks.” Using your vacation time, and using it wisely, helps you to become a better employee, which can only help your company. And most managers understand this.
Being a better employee will result, naturally, in a higher salary or a better job. Investing in vacation, therefore, is both an investment in your own well being and in your career and salary. Remember to invest in your vacation, just as you invest in your retirement, your education, or your house.